Hello Mr. Grasshopper

For the past week we’ve had a resident grasshopper.

I love his bright green length.

He’s been jumping around both Mister and I that it didn’t hit me before. Grasshoppers are a sign of good luck. But what did that mean for us?

Let’s see, things that have been on my mind lately:

  • need to increase productivity for our online business (family emergency & lack of funds have been holding us back)
  • considering pursuing a Master’s Degree but haven’t decided in what (concerned about financials and what course of study)
  • pursuing in learning more about a franchise that I’m interested in (what it takes to invest and run one + my business portfolio is lacking)
  • my job at work has me hiring 2 more people to provide remote support to some other branches (which is a great building stone for my management experience)

I think the most prominent would be our online business. Through another blog, I found this text:

The grasshopper chooses those of us who are innovators, forward-thinkers, and those who progress in life by unorthodox methods. This is because grasshopper symbolism recognizes tremendous leaps of faith, impressive jumps in progress and consistent forward momentum. Those with this totem are likely to aim high, and achieve amazing feats – they take great leaps where others fear to tread (or jump, in this case).

reference source

It’s encouraging and affirming this could be why Mr. Grasshopper has presented himself. During this time, we’ve been experiencing struggle with the balance of visiting my family in San Diego with traveling back and forth and keeping our head above metrics and performance for our online business as well as my position at work hiring more colleagues. Perhaps he is trying to say that we are headed in the right direction and need to put forth more seriousness and effort to gain traction in our online business.

Our 30 day run rates have been plateau’ed but I think we need to act as though we have nothing and just keep at it every single moment of the day until we are exhausted. My favorite saying has always been, “The more effort you put in something, the more you get out of it”

Don’t laugh but maybe this is why I’ve been gravitating towards my love to sci-fi novels (ugh i’ve seriously perused the thrift store until I somehow found all the nebula awarded novels) but this was also part of the text:

We can call upon the grasshopper when we need a sense of adventure in our lives. When we feel stuck in a rut, the grasshopper can bounce us into magical viridian worlds filled awe and joy.

Maybe this is what I need to bounce back from the feeling of helplessness and back into working harder for my end goals. I think it also inspired the attitude Mister needed to get motivated and find purpose with his role in our business. He’s been in a rut himself and I think with Mr. Grasshopper’s presence, it’s been subtly pushing him to just deal with whatever it’s front of him and go for it.

I think for me, it’s like he’s telling me to be okay. Whatever I’ve been feeling to just go with it, whatever feels right and make a choice. I think I feel better about my mom’s status and I accept it, because I believe the mind is a powerful thing (and by god, if my mom wasn’t a stubborn thing before her stroke, i’m sure she’s stubborn enough to make sure she recovers) and I have faith that she will make it through. I see the big picture Mr. Grasshopper, thanks for being there 😉

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SNFs

It’s been a little over a month since my mom’s first stroke. since then it’s been complication after complication.

We left the hospital with the information that she had ongoing ischemia and it will take days for her body to heal and the threat of stroke was still present. The only thing we could do was wait. This prognosis leads me to believe the position of a doctor. How they have to observe and make an prognosis about a patient – about their long term survival rate, the information and education they know and pass on to a patient’s family, the advancements they might be able to apply but are unable to because of variables, and the utter helplessness they face when they can’t perform miracles.

Anyway, the night before I left, I just want to say how pissed at disappointed I am with some nurses. So excuse my aside. My had a PEG Tube put in and was heavily sedated for 1.5 days. That’s scary in itself because her body is so fragile. The nurse who cared for her that night was so adamant that the ischemia wasn’t because of the PEG and ignored the signs my mom was having for TIA’s. It is so frustrating. On top of that, she gave my mom norco for pain – how do you express your concern about pain meds to doctors and nurses who only follow what they prescribe and not question it? I KNOW my mom on norco – and anyone in their right mind who has ever had norco ON AN A NEAR EMPTY STOMACH can imagine what the effects would be … It was not something we were happy about. My only complaint is against the nurse because her judgement was not right. The day before she was to be moved to the SNF, the freakin nurse did it again and my sister had to bring it up to the neurologist who then struck it off her list of meds because he was also concerned how it affected her.

Anyway, My mom was moved from the stroke unit to a skilled nursing facility that was gratefully near their house in Spring Valley. It took a lot of touring different SNF’s until we found one we were comfortable with. This one was actually 24/7 and some of her former colleagues worked there.

She was so adamant about not going to a SNF as though this was a solidification of her disease. As though there was no longer any hope for her recovery. We had to encourage her with all our might that this wasn’t the end. This was temporary. We were going to do whatever it takes to make sure she recovers and gets to come home. My dad had some inner conflict about this because he remembers a conversation with Mom that no matter what a “Nursing Home” is not where they would end up. It was so heartbreaking to hear this from my dad. But we must put that aside and see the reality of what a SNF is – they are able to provide nursing services in conjunction with speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy that is to aid in her recovery before the deficits become permanent.

Anyone who has had to make the decision to put a loved one in a facility like this should never be bullied to make a rash decision. At times my family felt like this was happening and had to get the neurologist to have the final say of when she was stable enough to be moved.

Things we looked for in a SNF:

  • Environment: Not to be crude, we wanted to a place where the vibe was friendly, alive, and not depressing. In my dad’s words, “Airy and Light.” There were many that my sister described that just didn’t fit the bill – they were dark, smelly, and people looked so unhappy. of course those facilities were meant for different types of illness or disease ranging from convalescent, dementia, alzheimers …
  • Staff – we took the time to speak with the directors of nursing and staff development to get a sense of how many Nurses and CNA’s there were in relation to patients. We also inquired about their knowledge of stroke patients and if they’re ever had a case like my mom’s.
  • Doctors & Continuity of Care – We wanted to know what doctors attended this facility and if the staff would know when to send my mom to the hospital – the only thing I didn’t like was that the Doctor visits once a month and didn’t have a personal presence
  • OT/PT Facility/Staff – this was important because we wanted to know how advanced their facilities were and the rigor in which OT/PT was rendered with our mom’s condition. The PT/OT here are very in-tune with their patients
  • Rooms – size and amenities – we looked at potential single and double suites, visiting space, and equipment that was in the room. Some facilities had older beds and older equipment. This facility hit all the marks.
  • Hours of Operation – We wanted to be able to see our Mom anytime of the day. some locations were only open 8am-8pm, 9am-9pm … this facility was 24/7 and part of a retirement village, so that was a good sign for us.

After we moved her to this facility, it gave us a greater sense of relief that she can begin the road of recovery. Unfortunately after 7 days at this facility, they had to send her back to the hospital for a UTI and dehydration.

The question remains on my mind – Why is it so difficult to prevent complications? There is no easy answer and the game of healing is a complicated one when there are so many variables on your medical record.

Through this all, my Dad (a 3 year stroke survivor himself) is experiencing what I must imagine the same emotions and thoughts my mom was going through 3 years ago. We try to comfort him but we understand his trouble with sleeping while his wife, his caregiver, is now going through a tough time recovering. We have to remind him sometimes that he might not remember everything that he struggled with, but it’s plainly written on his face his worry, his concern, his uncertainty of the future … I love my Dad and well of course my sister and brother. They all put their best face and foot forward for mom.

strokes are the bane of life

And it’s a disheartening thing that I’ve read is more common than people think.

July 23 2017 was when they brought my mom to the hospital. She was experiencing headaches the previous days and refused going to the ER even when my Dad pushed her to go. The doctor said blood clots were the cause and affected her right brain – therefore her left side of her body was experiencing more deficits. My mom is a nurse and should have listened to her instinct too – she’s also a smoker and at higher risk for stroke because of diabetes and high blood pressure.

I need to learn how to listen to my intuition more often. Vic and I had gone camping for 4 days and I should have urged myself to call my mom before I went. I had more concern for my dad and had called him but thought my mom would be okay. Something always happens when I’m offline and this time wasn’t any different. Regret is knowing what you should have done and did not do … like call my mom everyday that I promised I would so I could check in on her and dad.

First of all, I want to say my Mom is my world. She brought our fragile lives into existence and spent every day putting us before herself to make sure we never wanted for anything. I will never forget that. I cry sometimes when I think about how I didn’t spend enough time calling her, but whenever I was with my mom, I hugged her, kissed her, told her how much I love her and those memories will never go away.

Anyway, she spent 6 days at the Naval Balboa Hospital under their care and supervision. By the 28th, she seemed ready to go to rehab. She was in good spirits, she can feed herself, move herself side to side on the bed when she wished. These were all good signs. They wanted to move her to intense rehab as soon as possible. We should have kept her there for the weekend before moving her; what I think they missed is preventing another stroke to occur but that is why strokes are annoying – you never know when they will happen.

During the weekend she was laughing, ready to recovery and get back on her feet. Yet, Monday between 6am-8:30am she was experiencing another ischemic attack and no one was there, they hadn’t caught it until we walked in. My dad was so distraught because we were behind schedule – we were supposed to be there at 730. I told them right away they need to do something because this was not my mom the night before – she was slumped over, could barely speak (she was telling me she was mad because we were supposed to be there, it still hurts for me to think about it), she was drooling, and I can tell she was having a face droop. The urgency that the rehab staff was moving was not fast enough – she got a CT scan and MRi which confirmed the presence of ischemia – yet it took ALL DAY. The damage was already done by the time she was moved to their stroke unit. The deficits now depleted what strength she had in her right and left side. This indicated that it affected more of her left brain since she no longer could lift her right hand like before. Her tongue was so swollen she could barely make the words out but she could still form the words. I was praying that there was nothing more to come.

During that week, she had to get an NG tube because she could not pass the swallow test. This provided the complication of her breathing and speaking, but she could speak. At the end of this week, when I came back, she experienced another ischemic attack after placement of the PEG tube – because her swallowing did not improve and she needed a longer term solution. She was so scared for the procedure and really didn’t want it, but what other choice did we have?  This took away the last shred of speech and in it’s place aphasia and dysphagia presented itself. She was so distraught and depressed by this time that I understood the loss she was experiencing. Not having been able to hug us or at this point EXPRESS to us her feelings. It’s so hard but we’ve been there everyday for her like she was for us.

The one thing I absolutely hate about the hospital is how they handle preventing complications. Only because I READ a lot about stroke, and even throwing in there diabetes, smoker, high blood pressure in my own search for information … I was able to be more knowledgeable on what to ask and expect of her doctors and nurses. Not to say it isn’t difficult because thinking about all the things that could happen requires a lot of big picture thinking – what can affect this? what happens when this thing happens? Why is she having a hard time breathing? What is the worse case scenario? Why is the doctor not laying out the prognosis as we expect? What other situations are similar to hers? Is the absence of anecdotes of people with a history like mine indicate a low survival rate? Why is her temperature fluctuating, could there be an underlying reason? on and so forth.

There so much more I could write about this but it’s hard. I’ll continue the story in my next post.

 

It’s April!

Today mark’s my return to the writing world. Hopefully, I don’t lapse into the tune of my past posts. Those were written with some daunting thoughts. Albeit, I do use this as a platform to write away negative thoughts as it were and in practice is a form of cleansing those thoughts from my daily life. So if you chance upon reading my previous posts, keep in mind the emotion is a fickle thing and attitudes are apt to change with time.

April is one of my favorite months. April showers bring May flowers and that is definitely a little pleasure that I guiltily anticipate each year. If you pay close attention there is such simple delight in flowers. How they grow and stretch for the sun’s light and how they drink up all that the earth gives freely to them. It’s such a wonder and even moreso when you take the time as they say, to take the time to smell the roses.

People could be like flowers if they wish to be and I can see different flowers in each person or different plants representing people. Like most roses with thorns (I recently found there to be thornless roses), some people can be both beautiful and protect themselves from animals that may consume them – not giving into their circumstances while remaining poised. People can be delicate and simple like daisies or peonies serving purpose to the bees and hummingbirds.

I believe most people who choose to believe that fresh cut flowers are wasteful are my kind of people, but I can see that when we take them away from their stems we wish to possess a moment of their beauty before futility. It’s such a fleeting unexplainable feeling that is so hard for people not to give in. There is such an allure to it …

Anyway, just a disclaimer, this blog should be renamed to complete random thoughts indexed by prose. I have no real wish to be focused on any one subject but rather the syntax and flow of words. Don’t think you take a bit of a look into who I am because words are words …

dripping words

appearing slowly character after character

on the paper, on the screen, on my mind, in your hand

meaning is lost and i can no longer hear what you say

the feelings i have are replaced by other feelings

and you will never really know

i’m just cut from another cloth

i know this because i can’t understand where your words come from

space after space, then dot dot dot

i must flee from these other things and address the fact

that to belong in that world

is something quite different.